England is divided into 40 administrative counties which traditionally were each comprised of various numbers of ecclesiastical parishes. Each parish had its own church that administered to both the spiritual and the secular needs of the community. In 1538, Thomas Cromwell, chief minister of Henry VIII, issued The Second Henrician Injucntions that mandated every parish to maintain registers in which to record all baptisms, marriages and burials. These documents are central to ancestral research in England but it is not always practical for researchers to inspect or study the original registers or the many additional documents that originated in the parishes. Some of the people offering assistance in sourcing and reviewing the parish information are those involved in the Online Parish Clerk (OPC) program. OPCs are not officially associated with parish councils, ministers or congregations, however, these groups are often helpful in sourcing information about past residents and constructing histories of the various parishes. The tasks of OPCs are primarily to compile reference material for their adopted parish or parishes in the form of transcripts, extracts, abstracts, indexes and copies of original records.